Imagine our excitement to discover that the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has declared May 9-15, 2021 to be “Economic Development Week.”

Around the CEA, every week is economic development week — but we’re happy to make a special effort this week. If the economic development industry is taking a whole week to talk about the impact it has on our communities, how could we possibly pass up the opportunity to share our perspective on that?

The IEDC, which calls itself the “largest membership organization for economic developers in the world,” is encouraging its members to play “Economic Development Bingo” this week. Among other things, they want members to help promote the idea that “Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base.”

We have some thoughts about that. In fact, it turns out we’ve got an entire Bingo card’s worth of thoughts.

We like facts, research and real-world evidence here at the CEA. They tell us that there’s a lot more to the economic development story than the shiny happy messaging from the IEDC and its allies in the massive economic development industry.

That’s why, in the interest of getting more cold, hard facts into the discussion around Economic Development Week, the CEA has created our own “Economic Development Bingo” card.

We call it the “Brutally Honest Version,” because it gets into a lot of things economic developers would rather not be part of the discussion in their communities.

And because we’re all about facts and evidence at the CEA, we’ve collected real-world examples and trustworthy, third-party evidence about what we’re talking about for every single square on the game board: Click here, or on the bingo card below.

We invite you to play along all week long, and please let us know if you think there’s a “Bingo” in your community!

Each of these boxes includes an actual cost, downside, bad outcome, big risk or dumb idea that we’ve seen in the real world of economic development agencies in action.

Click here to learn more about the stories behind each one.

(P.S. – We have nothing personal against the IEDC. They seem like very nice and professional people, and they’re just doing their jobs.)

(P.P.S. – That’s more than you can say for most economic development agencies, though.)